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Development Academy

Fall 2023 Tryouts

The following year groups will be eligible for the Development Academy in Fall 2023:


Tryouts for the Fall 2023 season will be conducted at Twin Oaks Park on Field #1 and Field #2 (southeast end of complex, accessible from south gravel parking lot off College Blvd).

Supplemental fall tryouts will be conducted:

Mon., July 31, 5:00-6:30 pm
Fri., Aug 04, 5:00-6:30 pm

Mon., July 31, 5:00-6:30 pm
Wed., Aug 02, 5:00-6:30 pm
Fri. Aug 04, 5:00-6:30 pm

Mon., July 31, 6:30-8:00 pm
Wed., Aug 02, 6:30-8:00 pm
Fri. Aug 04, 5:00-6:30 pm

All players (new and returning) must register for tryouts to attend.
Link to tryout registration: available soon

Registration for tryouts is free and is mandatory in order to participate in tryouts.

Based on player assessments during tryouts, players will be offered placement in either grassroots, 4v4, or 7v7.

Questions about tryouts?  Contact

Questions about the DA?  Contact


Registration fee (paid once per soccer year):  Variable depending on placement.
Fall season fee (Grassroots):        $150
Fall season fee (4v4):        $175
Fall season fee (7v7):    $425

Guidance from Rush Soccer
The Rush Way includes 4 pillars:
Adaptable - Read The Game
Brave - Freedom With Responsiblity
Offensive - Attack Oriented
Intense - Only Your Top Effort Is Acceptable

The Development Academy will introduce all 4 pillars, but specifically focus on 2:
Bravery...we will teach players to be brave and control the ball at all times
Offensive...we will teach the players to be attack oriented

All training will be geared around the technical side of the game, emphasizing fun and enjoyment and developing a relationship with players' bodies and the ball.  The development of basic motor skills is instrumental (running, jumping, throwing, catching, crawling).
From a soccer perspective, our main focus relies on dribbling. We will encourage players to be creative, take chances, dribble, and score goals. Too often coaches emphasize passing and clearing the ball. We want our players to be comfortable with the ball, not clear it away every time they get it.

What do we do?
Academy training based on developmental age of players.
Grassroots: individual skills development
4v4: individual skills development utilizing the 4v4 format
7v7: individual skills development utilizing 7v7 format

Why do we do it this way?
The use of developmental age allows players to compete within the appropriate skill level.
Competing within the correct development age builds confidence and reduces boredom.
Individual skills must be built early to create confident, creative soccer players.  Grassroots phase will focus on dribbling with both feet and eyes up.
The 4v4 format accelerates development of technical ability and game intelligence.  Small pictures are clearer for children; space and options are more compatible with their abilities. 4v4 is the smallest sided game you can have that has all the elements of a real soccer match without any of the confusions that surround learning to play soccer.  In a soccer match children have the option of passing the ball forwards, square or backwards. Three children cannot do this because one of the directions will be missing. With five children the extra one duplicates one of the elements. She becomes “also wide, also deep or also back.” This “also” position clutters the picture.
The 7v7 format introduces many of the features of the full-sided game, including goal and penalty areas, the goalkeeper position and larger goals.  Players are introduced to more complex formations, wide areas, and multiple lines.  Decision-making is more complex.
Players will continue to have events in the 4v4 format to ensure maximum touches.

Move the focus away from the team and onto the individual player
Develop improved skills with the ball
 Improve confidence and comfort
Develop intelligence with and without the ball
    Promote faster decisions and better awareness
Develop partnerships within the team
Provide a developmentally age appropriate environment
Incorporate players and families into the Emerald Coast United family
Indoctrinate new coaches into Emerald Coast United family and mentality

Flexible practice options
Flexible game options
Grassroots will have Friday Game Nights
4v4 will have 4v4 “Friday Night Lights” (FNL) and 5 4v4 Open Events
7v7 will have 7v7 local league games, 2-3 7v7 tournaments and 5 4v4 Open Events
Focus on footwork
Focus on fun
Challenge players based on developmental level and comfort level, not age or parent’s desires

Phase 4v4:    TBD
Phase 7v7:     TBD

Tentative Fall Schedule-------------------------------------------

Mondays 5:00 - 6:30pm
Fridays 5:00 - 6:30pm

Phase 4v4:
Mondays 5:00 - 6:30pm
Wednesdays 5:00 - 6:30pm
Fridays 5:00 - 6:30pm
(2) 4v4 Open Series events (Sep, Oct)

Phase 7v7:
Mondays 6:30 - 8:00pm
Wednesdays 6:30 - 8:00pm
Fridays 5:00 - 6:30pm
(2) 4v4 Open Series events (Sep, Oct)
Destin Soccer Rodeo (30 Sep-01 Oct)
Local League games - TBD

Tentative Spring Schedule---------------------------------------

Mondays 5:00 - 6:30pm
Fridays 5:00 - 6:30pm
(1) 4v4 Open Series events (May)

Mondays 5:00 - 6:30pm
Wednesdays 5:00 - 6:30pm
Fridays 5:00 - 6:30pm
(3) 4v4 Open Series events (Mar,Apr,May)

Mondays 6:30 - 8:00pm
Wednesdays 6:30 - 8:00pm
Fridays 5:00 - 6:30pm
(3) 4v4 Open Series events (Mar,Apr,May)
Emerald Coast Cup (May)
Local League games - TBD


What is Academy style training?

Academy style training, according to United States Youth Soccer, is training players in an “Education First” environment by following the same curriculum for all players involved.  This creates a culture within the club which can be duplicated with each new generation of players.  This starts in the Development Academy by creating a professional environment.  Steps to create this include:

  •     Coaching staff creation of a season-long training plan for the skills that are necessary in young players to allow them to have a higher probability of success in the future.
  •     Coaching staff setting season goals for each player, which get analyzed with them at the completion of the season.
  •     Coaching staff creating weekly training sessions that adhere to the season long training plan.  These training sessions consist of 3-4 training stations, each facilitated by a licensed coach.  Players rotate between stations every 20 minutes.
  •       This rotation helps keep the young players engaged and gives them a new setting every 20 minutes.  Training groups are kept smaller by training three different groups concurrently, one at each station.  
  •     Players are distributed into groups at the beginning of the training session, not based on age but based on ability, physical development, work rate, and potentially the mood of the player on that given day.  

What are the Player Development Initiatives?

The Player Development Initiatives (PDIs) are US Soccer's guidance and recommendations to improve the approach and methodology of soccer player development in the United States.  They were written in 2016 and amended in 2017.  Age divisions and small-sided formats are standardized by the PDIs.

What is Fun Integration Theory?

Fun Integration theory is a scientific study of a common-sense concept, namely that when people enjoy something, they tend to do it more, and when they do it more, they tend to get better at it.  As one improves at something, one tends to enjoy it more, completing a self-reinforcing cycle.

Putting it all together

The Development Academy combines academy style training with the recommendations of the PDIs and incorporates Fun Integration Theory.

More information about academy style training from USYS can be found here.

More information about the PDIs can be found here.

More information about Fun Integration Theory can be found here.



Current Sponsors

FC Dallas - Emerald Coast Development Academy wishes to thank its 2022-2023 season sponsors...

Sponsored by Power Up WaterSports

Power Up WaterSports

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Sponsored by Fort Sk8 Family Fun Center

Fort Sk8 Family Fun Center

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Previous Sponsors

The FC Dallas - Emerald Coast Development Academy wishes to thank all its previous sponsors...

Sponsored by Brodie Bowman Orthodontics

Brodie Bowman Orthodontics

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Sponsored by Happy Computers

Happy Computers

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Sponsored by Der Tischler Fine Cabinetry

Der Tischler Fine Cabinetry

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Sponsored by ThaiMeUp


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Sponsored by Bluewater Oral Surgery

Bluewater Oral Surgery

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Sponsored by NextHome


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Sponsored by Renasant Bank

Renasant Bank

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Seketa element view

Seketa Building and Design

Sponsored by Dipping Dots

Dipping Dots

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Sponsored by Panhandle Management

Panhandle Management

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FC Dallas Emerald Coast Sponsors

Interested in becoming a sponsor of FC Dallas Emerald Coast?

Contact us at: or (850) 238-3041

Sponsored by Holiday Inn Express - Niceville

Holiday Inn Express - Niceville

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Holiday Inn is our hometown hotel sponsor in Niceville, FL.